Looking to make the leap: Ryan Pulock

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This is part of New York Islanders day at PHT…

Ryan Pulock made his NHL debut in 2015-16 and he certainly didn’t look out of place.

The 21-year-old was the Islanders’ first round pick, 15th overall, in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and after spending the majority of the last two years in the AHL, he’s looking to make the full-time leap to Brooklyn this season.

In 15 games with the Islanders last year, Pulock scored two goals, two assists and added five penalty minutes while averaging 15:43 of ice time per game. He added one goal and three points in six post-season games last spring.

An upper-body injury cost the rookie the last two games of the first round series against Florida and the first three games of the second round against Tampa. At the time, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Pulock’s injury was “a big loss” for the team.

Pulock has always been considered an offensive defenseman. He scored 19, 14 and 23 goals in his final three seasons with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and scored 17 goals in 54 games during his first AHL season. Pulock’s defensive game has been a work in progress, but he appears to have improved in that area.

“To be effective I have to be a two-way player,” Pulock told the Islanders’ website when he was recalled in February. “That’s an area of my game that I’ve really improved these last couple of months in Bridgeport. I’ve been getting more time on the PK and in those big situations late in games. It’s really helped me grow as a player and even my confidence as well.”

New York might not have a ton of openings on the blue line, but there should be enough room for Pulock to become a regular in 2016-17. Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey and Calvin de Haan will occupy five of the six spots on defense. It’ll be up to Pulock to beat out Scott Mayfield and/or Adam Pelech (which he should be able to do).